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Old 04-27-2020, 11:08 AM   #1
Cokeyskunk
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Default Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

Tidings of good cheer, fellow Done Dealers.

So, I learned this week I was lucky enough to reach the semifinals (Top 250) of the Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards. I was thrilled, as I know this is historically a mega-tough competition. I'm also a current quarterfinalist for the Dallas International Film Festival, and I learn if I advanced to semifinals on Friday.

My question is, is there anything I can do with these wins to get the attention of any decision makers? Or should I just consider them a nice "pat on the back"?

Thanks in advance, fellers.
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Old 04-27-2020, 06:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

Winning Nicholl, maybe Austin, 9 or a 10 on the Blacklist review site are the kinds of wins that might move the needle for reps or producers.

Semis and quarters in contests of the kinds you list (I've never heard of the LA Int'l Screenplay Awards myself) aren't likely to generate much heat. But it's a measure of validation that the writing is at least working at a certain level, which is always nice.
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Old 04-27-2020, 06:18 PM   #3
AK7576
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

First, Congratulations.

Second (harsh reality), remember, as Chris Lockhart (WME) said, "There's a contest in Hollywood every day."

Feel good, have a drink, love the wife or gf, have a good night's sleep, but remember "perseverence furthers."

PS - in reality, probably not even winning those two contests are much better than a basketball scholarship for Div2 or 3. (just watched A J Lapray who dropped 66 on a Chinese National team vid but only had a cup of coffee at Oregon). Don't feel disappointed; persevere. If it was easy Donald Trump would have done it.

Last edited by Done Deal Pro : 04-27-2020 at 07:11 PM. Reason: Removed extra spacing
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Old 04-27-2020, 06:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

Do you think they look at finals and semi final placements at the big 4 contests? I also wonder about how the shutdown affects everything.
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Old 04-28-2020, 10:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Friday View Post
Do you think they look at finals and semi final placements at the big 4 contests? I also wonder about how the shutdown affects everything.
I've had scripts advance to semifinals of Austin Film Festival contest in each of last two years. Both times I got emails asking for the script. Nothing came of those, alas.

I had another feature script make finals of Final Draft Big Break (as historical/period category winner) and heard nothing.
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Old 04-28-2020, 01:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?



Meanwhile, I'd submitted 23 scripts to 27 different contests over the years, and never placed once!

I would love to be able to write on a query that I had some/any kind of placement, but it still would only be after I'd tried everything else in the query content to sell what it is that I'm trying to sell.

Closest I came was last year, when I submitted a few queries for "Mr. Buttle's Great Odyssey", and added a line that said that it was "among my best works and was the script I'd submitted to this year's Nicholl Fellowship". I don't think I had a single read request from it, though.

But I'm glad I've just decided to quit the contest thing. The late submission fee to Nicholl this year, for example, would have been $127 due to my low low CDN dollar.
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Old 04-28-2020, 03:19 PM   #7
Friday
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

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Originally Posted by ClintW3 View Post
I've had scripts advance to semifinals of Austin Film Festival contest in each of last two years. Both times I got emails asking for the script. Nothing came of those, alas.

I had another feature script make finals of Final Draft Big Break (as historical/period category winner) and heard nothing.

Interesting. What genre category did you place in Austin? Maybe, less people look at the historical period stuff.
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Old 04-28-2020, 06:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

"No Heroes Here" was drama feature semifinalist in 2018. It is a low-budget action/thriller.

"Chattahoochee" was one-hour pilot semifinalist last year. It is a period mini-series kind of drama.

The Big Break finalist was a period piece, so I understood the lack of interest.
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Old 04-29-2020, 05:41 AM   #9
Friday
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

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Originally Posted by ClintW3 View Post
"No Heroes Here" was drama feature semifinalist in 2018. It is a low-budget action/thriller.

"Chattahoochee" was one-hour pilot semifinalist last year. It is a period mini-series kind of drama.

The Big Break finalist was a period piece, so I understood the lack of interest.

In your opinion, do you think finalists and semi-finalists get attention from these big 4 contests?
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Old 04-29-2020, 09:50 AM   #10
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Default Re: Can I do anything with a high placement in a screenwriting competition?

As others have said, producers and reps don't care if it's not The Nicholl or Austin. If you semi or final in either, you can get read requests... otherwise, good for you for some validation...

And here's why most of the others don't count. As a favor to a friend a couple of years ago I agreed to be a judge for one of the larger 2nd tier contests, thousands of scripts entered... and we couldn't find 10 scripts good enough to be finalists. All of the scripts ranged from unreadably horrible to bad. It really did show me how hard it is to find a well written script with a great premise. We advanced the 10 least horrible scripts and the winner was mediocre at best.

I learned two things. 1. Never be a contest judge ever again. 2. That producers and reps know that unless it's a top tier contest, doing well in the others is kinda meaningless to them.

So unless your script makes the finals in any other contest, I'd leave it off the query. Let your logline sing on its own.
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